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Tar Heel Girls State Records

Identifier: MSS 0100

Scope and Contents

The Tar Heel Girls State Records span from 1940-1998, with the bulk dating from 1960-1987. The program began on the Women's College campus in 1939 and stayed at UNCG until 2000, after which time it moved to Catawba College.

The Administrative Documents Series contains papers produced while organizing the Girls State conferences, including programs that list daily events and other documents necessary to programming such as ballots, certificates, financial papers, and literature about governmental processes for participants. This series also contains extensive correspondence between administrators, including ALA members Ione Mebane Mann and Ruth Scarborough, who were involved in the program from its early years and participated for several decades, C.O. Phillips, director until 1962, and Clarence Shipton, director from 1963 until 1981.

The Participant Documents Series contains meeting minutes and legislation created by students in the program and contains City Papers, State Papers, and Newsletters. City Papers pertain to the meetings of individual cities, usually comprised of about 30 girls responsible for choosing a style of government, electing officials, and organizing small events throughout the week. State Papers pertain to large-group meetings, where students could campaign for positions and participate in writing and voting on bills. Many of these bills address controversial national issues. Participants also created daily newsletters during the week of Girls State, printing editorials, poems, occurrences from city meetings, jabs at the opposing party, and gossip.

The Newspaper Clippings Series contains clippings from local papers about individual Girls State participants and events throughout the week.

The Audio-Visual Materials Series contains large group photographs of the students from almost every year, as well as several photos of girls elected to official positions. Also included in the series are three phonographic LP records.


  • 1940 - 1998
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1987


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Tar Heel Girls State began in 1939 as an intensive, week-long program that allowed rising high school senior girls to learn about government by forming imaginary cities and participating in the legislative process as citizens and as elected officials. The girls lived in residence halls, chose their membership in either the "Federalist" or "Nationalist" party, campaigned for positions, elected representatives at the city and state levels, debated about controversial issues of their time and wrote legislation to address them, listened to speakers, produced a daily newspaper, and participated in talent shows and other recreational activities. When it began, the program hosted over 180 girls, but by 1998 the number of participants numbered over 300.

Girls were selected for participation in the program competitively, based on school performance and good citizenship. Each American Legion post was allowed to send two girls, and at the end of the week, two outstanding leaders were selected to represent North Carolina at Girls Nation in Washington, DC.


4.50 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



Tar Heel Girls State was founded in 1939 as a workshop on government and citizenship for rising high school senior women sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. It took place on the Women's College campus (later UNCG) for a week each summer, where students lived in residence halls, formed imaginary cities, and participated in the process of democratic government as citizens and legislators.

The Tar Heel Girls State Records date from 1940-1998 and contain correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, and newsletters. They document the legislation created by students, meetings of cities, administrative decisions about the program, daily schedules for participants, and special events such as trips and speakers.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged into the following series: 1. Administrative Documents 2. Participant Documents 3. Newspaper Clippings 4. Audio-Visual Materials Each series is arranged chronologically.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Lauren Wallis in April 2011.


Tar Heel Girls State Records
Lauren Wallis and Jennifer Motszko
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US